Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2009-2010 Employment Opportunities and Speculations

While the employment marketplace remains relatively slow, there are signs of a gradual improvement. Recent economic indicators reflect an increase in consumer confidence which is normally a leading indicator of an improving employment climate. Whether these initial positive signs continue is anyone’s guess however this is a good time to try to pinpoint segments of the employment marketplace that may rebound first or represent new opportunities. Based on our reading of the economy and recent government actions and conversations with clients, here are just a few to consider:

Learning and development to reflect new ways of doing business – the recent collapse of the financial services sector has resulted in new rules and regulations for how these corporations will function going forward. Some of these new practices are in direct response to new and yet to be announced government edicts, others will be required based on corporate operations improvement initiatives. Either way, both front and back office personnel will need to be trained in the new ways that business will be conducted.

Learning and development to ensure that these new ways of doing business are being followed – look for corporate ethics and compliance areas to undertake major learning and development initiatives to ensure that operating units are complying with government and corporate standards and guidelines.

Learning and development within the healthcare sector – it remains to be seen how the healthcare reform movement will actually take hold however some type of healthcare reform seems inevitable. With reform comes new learning and development requirements and opportunities. We are keeping a close eye on areas that address billing and claims and the electronic health records (EHR) and electronic medical records (EMR) groups.

Learning and development within the clean energy sector – all signs point to increased spending and focus on clean energy. This should result in greater employment within this market sector which will create learning and development opportunities. Additionally, I envision corporations in this sector needing to invest in community outreach and client education programs to aid in building market awareness and demand.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Salary Flexibility: Is it Enough?

Scenario: You are out of work and come across a job that you are clearly overqualified for. In fact this looks just like a position that you held five years ago. The salary that is posted is close to $20,000 less than what you were making in your last position. You have been out of work for close to three months and quite frankly, you would accept that salary. You hit the send button and forward your resume to the company.

So what happens now? In most cases, experienced recruiters will quickly review your resume and not call you in for an interview. The reason is pretty simple. While you are clearly qualified for the position, you represent a huge retention risk. The investment corporations make in training and orienting a new employee is considerable. In most cases the return on their hiring investment occurs sometime between year 1 and year 2. Recruiting professionals and hiring managers recognize that once the market rebounds (and the market WILL rebound), jobs will become more plentiful and employees that are underpaid will most likely leave.

There are other employers that will recognize these very points, but instead will look to maximize their investment by hopefully having a more productive and experienced employee on board for as long as they can. They are basically willing to accept the retention risk.

In speaking with a candidate today, he presented some compelling arguments that he wanted me to convey to my client. Here are some of those arguments and a few other suggestions you may want to consider using:

  1. Stress the increased productivity that they will receive by having a more experienced person on staff.
  2. Discuss any additional value that you may be able to offer that a lesser skilled hire could not provide. If this additional value is relevant to the employer, it may open their eyes to a new way of thinking.
  3. Make some guarantee regarding the minimum length of employment that you are willing to commit to.
  4. Offer a short trial period where the employer can see you and your experience in action. At the successful conclusion of this trial, employment could continue, roles and responsibilities potentially expanded, or salary revisited.

Corporations that are hiring in this marketplace recognize the difficulties that job seekers are facing. Ultimately their hiring decisions are based on the perceived value that prospective candidates offer. And therein lies your challenge

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Facebook and other online references – a word of warning

I have always taken pride in being an early adopter of new technologies and trends however I must admit that I am only now getting into Facebook. I am not sure if I truly get what this Facebook thing is all about. People leaving innocuous ditties about their lives, links to causes I have never heard about, hour by hour reflections on the weather and their health. With all of the unlimited phone plans is there any reason why people just don’t pick up the phone anymore? Don’t get me started on text messaging. Has anyone thought to do a study to find out what the impact will be on our society given that people are speaking with one another less and less frequently?

The only thing that worries me about the questions I raise is that I am starting to sound more and more like my parents. I actually made my son get a haircut when he got home from college this winter. I’m not sure if that was in reaction to his sloppy appearance or some hidden desire to have his hair length more in line with my rapidly receding hairline (OK I will admit it – it is more than just my hairline that is rapidly receding).

To bring this all back to some business relevance, here is a word of caution. Be careful what you post online. More and more of this information can be viewed by more and more people. If potential employers notice posts that raise questions or worse yet, red flags, it could endanger your employment opportunities. I always encourage people to google their names just to see what is out there. Once it appears on the Internet it can be very difficult to remove.

See you all on

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When Malware Strikes…

There are computer viruses and then there are computer viruses. My family computer was recently infected with the Spyguard 2008 virus and let me tell you – this is one nasty virus that takes over your Internet browser and can also forward password information to remote computers.

I tend to take these viruses as a challenge and resolve to personally rid these viruses from my computer. I ran Spybot. I ran Ad-Aware. I ran my anti-virus software. I did this in Normal mode, Safe mode, and Safe mode with Networking. No luck.

I researched this virus and found several postings with supposed tools that would remove Spyguard 2008. The only thing that these postings did not mention was that the Spyguard 2008 virus redirects any attempts to download these tools or access their web sites. Again, no luck.

I then found that there are anti-malware forums dedicated to help and in most cases, these forums and their forum staff provide their service at NO CHARGE.

I went to
www.bleepingcomputer.com and followed the instructions on how to post my issue and then waited for a reply (4 days later). My knight in shining armor was from the Netherlands and was incredibly thorough and knowledgeable. Over the course of the next day and a half, I used 7 different tools and followed 18 different steps to rid my computer of this virus.

If you ever find yourself in a similar position keep the following web sites in mind: